Did you know?
Water is an important part of our lives. It has a great impact on how people live in developing countries, where it can mean the difference between life and death. However, industrial countries also face huge challenges with water scarcity. Most of us do not think of water as a valuable resource. As you can read in this blog, we believe that water scarcity is going to affect us all in the near future. Here are some interesting facts to think about:
Water covers 70% of our planet, and it is easy to think that it will always be plentiful. However, freshwater—the stuff we drink, bathe in, and irrigate our farm fields with—is incredibly rare. Only 3% of the world’s water is fresh water, and two-thirds of that is unavailable for our use.
As a result, some 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to water, and a total of 2.7 billion find water scarce for at least one month of the year. Inadequate sanitation is also a problem for 2.4 billion people—they are exposed to diseases, such as cholera and typhoid fever, and other water-borne illnesses. Two million people, mostly children, die each year from diarrheal diseases alone.
Many of the water systems that keep ecosystems thriving and feed a growing human population have become stressed. Rivers, lakes and aquifers are drying up or becoming too polluted to use. More than half the world’s wetlands have disappeared. Agriculture consumes more water than any other source and wastes much of that through inefficiencies. Climate change is altering patterns of weather and water around the world, causing shortages and droughts in some areas and floods in others.
At the current consumption rate, this situation will only get worse. By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world's population could be living under water stressed conditions. Ecosystems around the world will suffer even more.
World Wildlife Fund (WWF), 2018
Human Development Report 2006. UNDP, 2006
Coping with water scarcity. Challenge of the twenty-first century. UN-Water, FAO, 2007